Bottom line: Xanthelasmas are xanthomas that occur on the eyelids. Xanthomas also occur on other parts of the body, including hands, tendons, chest, shoulders and back.
Kevaghn P, et al. Xanthomas: clinical presentation. Medscape, 2012.
The pathogenesis and clinical significance of xanthelasma palpebrarum. J Amer Acad Dermatology. 1994; 30(2, pt. 1): 236-42.
Xanthelasmas are the most common form of xanthelomas and occur on the eyelid and surrounding the eye. Other xanthelomas can occur in other areas including hands, tendons, chest, shoulders and back. Some research suggests that they occur in pressure areas as well as where “local heat [increasing capillary] leakage rate” of LDL. Local heat being caused by trauma, inflammation, infection, and possibly friction. This paper suggests that the friction from the movement of eyelids may be involved in the tendency for xanthlasmas to develop in the setting of hyperlipidemia.